May 21, 2010
Assuming responsibility for personal and institutional sins has not been a strong suit of the Church, fallen evangelicals, or corporate plunderers. It’s easier to blame a media campaign against the Church, or in Rep. Mark Souder’s case, a “poisonous” Washington environment seeking to twist “personal failing … for political gain.”
The political right has labored mightily for over three decades to link the term “entitlement” to social programs such as nutrition, health and child support — useful distractions from enormous entitlements bestowed on corporate power brokers who have corroded common culture and brought us to the economic brink.
Newt Gingrich denounced food programs for children as “entitlements,” and attributed budget deficits solely to social spending. Yet, at the time of 1996 welfare reform corporate subsidies and tax breaks of $167 billion in 1995 alone, totaled more than twice as much as the $67 billion all social welfare programs combined. Nor is expansive defense spending questioned: Defense “creates jobs and protects worship,” reasoned majority whip Sen. Trent Lott on Pat Robertson’s show in 1995.
Right-wing culture/class warfare consistently pits the privileged against the “undeserving underclass” — an epithet applied by a James Dobson affiliate. The doctor denounced the ideal of universal health care while ascribing health costs to the “social pathology of our underclass,” principally “irresponsible sex acts that lead to abortion.” Contemporary Tea Parties express the same class/race discontent. While rightfully rejecting the widening disparity of wealth created by ultraconservative policies, theirs is the wrong diagnosis and prescription – defense of corporate greed and abolishment of government oversight.
The right has marginalized and imputed inferiority and illicit sexual behavior to the least politically powerful. Serial adulterer Gingrich led congressional efforts to selectively apply economic sanctions, while attributing every perceived social ill to the “sexual sin” of women and minorities — not to economic, but to moral, poverty. Nor are children exempt from blame: The latest confessed adulterer, Rep. Mark E. Souder (R-Indiana), champion of traditional marriage and abstinence-only education who touts a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee, dismissed David Koresh’s crimes of rape of young girls at Waco as “sex with consenting minors.”